American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

YFA E-News: April 2020

Young Fellows Helping Each Other during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Paula Ferrada, MD, FACSThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected each one of us in different ways. Concerns that the crisis might overwhelm hospital resources led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recommended postponing elective surgeries; however, the situation is different in every city and health care system. States with a larger volume of sick patients are facing shortages of resources as basic as personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and personnel. There is also a shortage of blood and blood products. These are unprecedented issues that challenge the system and the entire community of surgeons in our nation. Yet amidst all the chaos, seeing surgeon leaders rise to work through these challenges is inspiring and sends a message of hope to us all. 

As health care professionals we need to be leaders in our communities. We need to continue to strike a balance between educating and preventing the spread of the virus without causing panic. We must find a way to protect ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally and to protect our families. Moreover, we need to continue to share information that can help us serve our patients better.

At the end of this crisis, we will all have learned important personal and professional lessons. I believe collaboration and solidarity will pave our path to success.

Paula Ferrada, MD, FACS, FCCM
Chair, Young Fellows Association

Resources Compiled for Young Surgeons

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the lives of individuals throughout the world. During this time of immense stress, we have done what surgeons do best, adapted in order to best care for our patients. Surgical societies have created guidelines in a rapid fashion, our board has provided for flexibility, and we have adjusted our practices. Numerous resources are available to help you navigate the next few months. We have compiled a few that might be beneficial.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has served as a repository for resources that are helpful to practicing surgeons, including guidelines on surgical conditions that should be treated and optimal safety strategies.

Many websites provide information about the spread of COVID-19. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation from the University of Washington provides a state-by-state assessment of the number of expected cases as well as the strain these cases will place on health care resources and the projected date maximum resource utilization will be reached. The Centers for Disease Control regularly updates the number of cases in the United States and associated deaths.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act can help physician practices that are struggling in the form of direct aid, loans, and waivers of telehealth requirements. A summary of the CARES Act can be found on the American Medical Association website.

Are you being sent to provide care in the ICU or an acute care setting that is not in your usual scope of practice? The Society of Critical Care Medicine is offering free tutorials. Most of this material is similar to the fundamentals of critical care that we all needed to pass during residency, but this is a great, free refresher.

During these difficult times, we must remember to stay focused and find time to decompress. Please reach out to each other, your family, and your colleagues. No one is alone.

Amalia Stefanou, MD, FACS
YFA E-News Editor